Glenn builds mental strength in weight room

Sadie Rowell and Max McCutcheon

Jack Glenn squats 435 pounds at the Gator Classic Competition in Sheffield, Alabama. (Photo contributed by Jack Glenn)

Jack Glenn’s feats in the gym as a powerlifter are nothing short of awe-inspiring. Though the road he’s taken has been long and challenging, it is shaping him into the person he aspires to be.

Glenn starred on the varsity football team in the offensive line position after playing football since seventh grade. Coming in at 225 lbs., he was built for football. But after receiving his third concussion sophomore year, he questioned if it was worth continuing the game he loved. The risk for brain damage at this point was too severe to continue, so he figured it would be safest to stop playing. 

With football no longer in his life, Glenn found himself lost. The absence of the sport he loved was not only taking a physical toll but also hurt his mental health. Glenn saw his life going down the wrong path, so he sought advice from a close friend. One dinner with this friend was a turning point. His friend had mentioned weight lifting as a way out. He decided it was time to take action.

Glenn’s eyes opened to the significance of mental health from a young age. In his family of six, two of his three older sisters work in the mental health field. One works for the suicide prevention hotline, and the other for the rape hotline. He could see the impact mental health can have on a person since it’s such a prominent concern in his household.

From the first week of working out, Glenn felt instantly invigorated. He saw his potential for success and thrived in it. Once he saw this change in himself, mentally and physically, it pushed him to continue his journey. 

Look in a mirror and revel in how you have changed. ”

— Jack Glenn

These changes were exactly what he needed. He found his motivation in powerlifting and had no intentions of turning back. 

His friend’s advice had such profound effects that Glenn wanted to be that person for others. After experiencing the hardships of his battle, he wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what he had.

Glenn discovered that the best thing someone could do to help him was to sit, listen, and sympathize with him. So this became a way he would help others. After Glenn’s experience with poor mental health, he feels he must be there for others when needed.

Jack Glenn at the Gator Classic Competition in Sheffield, Alabama (photo contributed by Jack Glenn)

Unfortunately, many struggles came along with lifting. When Glenn first looked in the mirror, it put a dent in his mental health. He started struggling with body dysmorphia, a mental condition that makes one hyperfocus on their appearance and sees flaws that often go unnoticed by others. These problems were significant, but fortunately, Glenn was more equipped to handle mental struggles, so they were not as hard to overcome as his previous struggles.

Glenn advises regularly taking pictures and stepping back to see how far you’ve come. “I love to give myself credit as well. I made this change for myself,” Glenn said. He also advises people to stay away from the scale as that can be a demotivating progress tracker.

The gym has been a helpful tool for Glenn; those closest to him can see how much it has changed him. Friends and peers see him as a person to come to with questions, along with tips and advice. 

A key person that has helped him along his journey is his coach. Glenn’s powerlifting coach has turned into a close friend, an important thing to have in the sport, according to Glenn. His strong relationship with his coach has benefited him in many ways, including his diet plan.

With significant muscle growth, one needs to fuel the body with the appropriate amount of food. Glenn eats four full meals a day, a total of 3700 calories.

A common question Glenn gets is what keeps him motivated. One motivator is looking at his powerlifting idols and striving to become like them, particularly one man, Gavin Adin. 

The amount Adin can lift at the young age of 23, and his ability to win world titles in powerlifting, truly inspires Glenn.

Glenn believes motivation is the essential way to get someone in the gym. There will always be days when you don’t want to go, so self-discipline is crucial. Discipline causes Glenn to get up an hour before the sun every morning. Thinking about the end goal and doing what is necessary to achieve those goals pushes him to get up, get going, and keep going. 

Glenn strives to be an idol to others and wants people to look up to him like he looks up to Adin. “If I can inspire one person by the time I’m 26, I’ll be happy, ” Glenn said.